Nightclub Poem by Billy Collins


Rating: 3.8

You are so beautiful and I am a fool
to be in love with you
is a theme that keeps coming up
in songs and poems.
There seems to be no room for variation.
I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful
and you are a fool to be in love with me,
even though this notion has surely
crossed the minds of women and men alike.
You are so beautiful, too bad you are a fool
is another one you don't hear.
Or, you are a fool to consider me beautiful.
That one you will never hear, guaranteed.

For no particular reason this afternoon
I am listening to Johnny Hartman
whose dark voice can curl around
the concepts on love, beauty, and foolishness
like no one else's can.
It feels like smoke curling up from a cigarette
someone left burning on a baby grand piano
around three o'clock in the morning;
smoke that billows up into the bright lights
while out there in the darkness
some of the beautiful fools have gathered
around little tables to listen,
some with their eyes closed,
others leaning forward into the music
as if it were holding them up,
or twirling the loose ice in a glass,
slipping by degrees into a rhythmic dream.

Yes, there is all this foolish beauty,
borne beyond midnight,
that has no desire to go home,
especially now when everyone in the room
is watching the large man with the tenor sax
that hangs from his neck like a golden fish.
He moves forward to the edge of the stage
and hands the instrument down to me
and nods that I should play.
So I put the mouthpiece to my lips
and blow into it with all my living breath.
We are all so foolish,
my long bebop solo begins by saying,
so damn foolish
we have become beautiful without even knowing it.

Michael Walker 08 January 2020

Unconventional and unorthodox ideas about love and beauty. Why not, 'I am so beautiful/ and you are a fool to be in love with me'. He plays the tenor sax and gives the poem unity. Tremendous.

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Bijay Kant Dubey 25 October 2019

You are so beautiful, I am bowled over is the thing of deliberation to win the praise here under this poem. The nighclub is just of dance and romance. to seek pleasure and to enjoy the motto of it; to drink and dance and win over your love. how the club men befool it others and how do the pleasure-seekers trying to extract?

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Beverley Fredborg 03 January 2009

This is SUCH a great poem. I think it is so interesting, so true, and I love how he writes - its like a funky kind of modern feel to his words.

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